How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain?
09-11-2017 | Posted By: Chhavi | 500 View(s)
So, winter has arrived and it’s time to enjoy the cold weather with a cup of tea and snacks. Yes, we all love the winter season, but maybe winters do not love our sexy and toned body. As the temperature goes down, we start putting on weight. Yes! Gaining weight during winters is quite common and various studies show that most adults gain at least one pound in the winter season. But, there are some ways to avoid winter weight gain. Wondering, how? Well, you just need to drink plenty of water, get moving and make some healthy food swaps to maintain your ideal weight in the winter season. But, first of all, let’s understand why we tend to gain weight in winters.
Why We Gain Weight In the Winter Season?
1. Seasonal Depression
Winter season triggers the seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, in some people. In the winter season, there is a lack of sunlight which affects a person’s mood and health. Many people develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter, which is a type of clinical depression. As per the estimate of The Cleveland Clinic, about half a million people suffer from SAD. The symptoms of SAD include irritability, lack of concentration, fatigue and increased need for sleep and sadness.
Another downside of SAD is that it makes people crave carbohydrates which make people eat more carbs and lead to weight gain. Experts believe that SAD occurs because people get less exposure to sunlight due to short days in the winter season. The lack of sunlight may reset people’s biological clock and negatively affect sleep, mood and hormones. Moreover, the light also plays a significant role in releasing neurotransmitters, which affect mood and food cravings. We tend to sleep more than required due to SAD, which results in lack of motivation and energy and also increases appetite. Thus, we overeat and gain weight in no time.
If you are experiencing SAD symptoms, you should consult a Doctor to make sure it is not related to another physical or psychological problem. Also, you should wake up early to get some sunlight and stay away from SAD.
2. Laziness Hits us Hard
Let’s just accept it; we become lazy heads during winters. All we want to do all day long is sleep under a cosy blanket and eat warm foods. Nobody likes to wake up early morning in the winter season because going out in the cold gives us chills. And that is the sole reason why we stay up late in our bed and do not indulge in any physical activity during winter. But at what cost? Lack of exercise makes us put on weight in the winter season.
Obviously, if you do not burn calories, you will put on weight, and that is what happens in the winter season. The cold temperature outside makes you think that you shouldn’t go for outdoor exercise such as running, jogging and cycling- But that’s where you are wrong! Winter does not mean that you go into a hibernate mode. One should indulge in some physical activities to avoid winter weight gain.
3. We Overeat Warm Comfort Foods
In the winter season, we reach for warm comfort and dense foods. And that is because when our body metabolises food, it generates heat, which makes us crave more warm foods to help heat us up.
Experts suggest that we the shorter days and cooler air in the winter season alter our behaviours which encourage fat storage. When we eat, our body temperature rises, and so in the cold weather, we increase the consumption of comfort foods such as hot puddings, pasta, coffee and tea to feel warm; and regular consumption of these foods makes us gain weight.
4. Our Metabolism Increases
Yes, it might sound good that our metabolism naturally increases in the winter season. But, due to the increase in metabolism, one may gain weight. According to nutritionists, our metabolism increase in the winter season to burn more energy and help us stay warm. And as a result, we require more food to meet the body’s extra energy demands.
Now, this does not mean that we should be eating more to compensate. It is because your metabolism is not accelerated enough to burn enough calories. Yes, the metabolism will be increased in the winter season, but we should count our daily intake of calories and eat healthy food to avoid winter weight gain.
So, now that we have understood the reasons why we gain weight during winters; it’s time to explore the tips to avoid gaining weight in the cold weather.
What are the Tips to Avoid Winter Weight Gain?
1. Stock Your Pantry with Healthy Foods
In the winter season, we feel hungry often, and that is why you should keep healthy snacks at your home and office so that you do not end up eating junk food. Keep snacks which are rich in protein and other nutrients like unsalted almonds, salad, dried nuts, sprouts and fruits.
You should stock your kitchen with foods like tomatoes, beans, pulses, dried herbs, dried whole wheat pasta, whole wheat rice, oatmeal, soup, broccoli, cauliflower, fruits and vegetables.
2. Make Healthy Swaps
During the winter season, people mostly consume foods high in salt, sugar, fat and calories which makes them gain weight. So you can make some healthy food swaps and avoid winter weight gain.
Swap dips made with cream or cream cheese for tomato-based dips, such as salsa or plain yoghurt. Snack on popcorn, not chips. Choose Porridge over cereal. You can also choose sweet potato over potato because sweet potato is higher in fibre and vitamins and lower in calories and carbs. If you are a fan of chocolate, then you can pick dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Also, if you love eating rice, you can go for cauliflower rice instead of white rice. Also, choose baked potatoes instead of roast potatoes, because baked potatoes are higher in fibre and are almost fat-free.
The point is that you should make healthy food swaps to keep your weight in control.
3. Keep Moving
Yes, it is right that we do not like to go out in the cold weather to workout, but you should, to avoid winter weight gain. You need to increase your activity and exercise for at least thirty minutes every day. Cold weather does not mean that you have to be lazy, comfortable and abandon physical activity completely. In the winter season, we tend to eat more which means that we consume more calories, which leads to weight gain. And that is why you should workout to keep off the pounds.
You can simply go on a morning walk; it will make you feel warmer and boost circulation too. Playing outdoor games like badminton, cricket, football, etc. is also a good option. The point here is that you need to get out of your room and do some physical activities in order to keep yourself healthy and fit in the cold weather.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol contains too many calories, and so you must avoid it. Winter is a season of celebrations, and so you may end up drinking more than required. So, if you drink alcohol and are going to a Christmas party, then you should drink a glass of water or a diet soda before and after each alcoholic beverage to dilute calories. But, if you can, avoid alcohol in the winter season to prevent excess calorie consumption and weight gain.
5. Do Not Take Stress
So you have gained weight, but don’t worry about it. You can easily shed fat if you eat a healthy diet and exercise. If you keep on thinking about the weight gain, your stress level will rise which will release stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in the body. The stress hormone, ‘Cortisol’ increases hunger cravings which makes a person overeat. So, do not take stress; just change your lifestyle to lose weight.
6. Don’t Sleep Too Much
Yes, it is true that sleeping more than required can make you obese. According to researchers, oversleeping can increase your risk of diabetes and obesity. According to several studies, people sleeping over nine hours are more likely to become obese. So, you should get out of your comfortable bed in the winter season and avoid oversleeping to stay fit and healthy.
7. Drink More Water
In the winter season, we stop drinking enough water. Due to cold weather, we opt for hot beverages like coffee and tea and skip the water. But, not drinking enough water can make us obese. Water is a calorie-free drink, and it helps in preventing weight gain. Also, it helps burn calories and suppresses your appetite. And that is why you should drink plenty of water during winters too. Instead of consuming sugary beverages like coffee and tea, you should drink water or warm lemon water to shed fat and avoid winter weight gain.
Winter is the season to enjoy and have loads of fun. Do not let this cold weather take a toll on your health. Keep eating a healthy diet and exercise to stay healthy and fit. If you do no maintain your weight in the winter, how will you flaunt swimsuit in the summer? So, follow these tips religiously to avoid winter weight gain. After all, ‘Summer Bodies are made in the winter.’